TL;DR – A delight, a joy, a battle, and a film for the ages.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit scene.
Disclosure – I paid for the Paramount+ service that viewed this film
A Knight’s Tale Review –
As I sit here at the time of writing, it is the night of Christmas Day, and I am not seeing any family today for the first time in a while. While I have never minded that isolation, it brings a certain melancholy on days like this. However, it also brings a particular reflective thought. It is in that mood that I thought I would take a moment and look back at an icon from my childhood, a film that still sits on my Top 10 films of All Time List.
So to set the scene, and let’s just use the title card of the film itself, “In medieval times a sport arose. Embraced by noble and peasant fans alike, though only noble knights could compete. The sport was jousting.”. In this world, we meet three lowly squires of Sir Ector (Nick Brimble), who has unfortunately died before he can win the tournament. William Thatcher (Heath Ledger), Roland (Mark Addy), and Wat (Alan Tudyk) must move quickly because they have not eaten in three days, and they are about to forfeit the match. William decided to ride in his place, but you must be of noble birth to compete, so if they are discovered, it’s to the gallows they go. But if you can pull this off, maybe you don’t stop at just one tournament.
A while ago when I was writing my Top 10 Films of All Time, I mentioned that one of the contenders for the list was 10 Things I Hate About You. To this day, I keep going back and forth on that list and how that would probably be one of the changes I would make. With this in mind, and because I was feeling a bit glum, today I cracked open the TV put out a cheese platter and dived back into this seminal film from my youth, and boy does it still hold up.
So to set the scene, we open in on Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) a new student at Padua High School as he is shown around all the groups and hierarchies by Michael Eckman (David Krumholtz). It is here where he spies the enchanting Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik) and is immediately entranced. The one small catch (other she has no idea who he is) is that it is widely known that the Stratford sisters can’t date. Well, all that changes when Walter Stratford (Larry Miller), Bianca’s dad changes the rule, Bianca can date when her sister Kat (Julia Stiles) dates. This sets off a chain reaction that involves bad boy Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger), local cashed-up rich boy Joey Donner (Andrew Keegan) and a school formal that goes disastrously wrong.
TL;DR – Today we countdown my Top 10 films of all time; from towns where there are a lot of ‘accidents’, to all forms of Sci-Fi, to do you know the man with six fingers on his right hand, and everything in between.
Recently I watched the CineFix crew countdown their Top 10 films, and it had me thinking what are mine? Now it was at this point where I of course naturally spiralled as how can you reduce thousands of films that you have seen into only a Top 10. Just before I threw my hands up in resignation and chucked in the towel I happened to catch an episode of Movies with Mikey on how he determined the best sequel. With this in mind I wondered if there was a set of criteria that I could use to categorise the films into a list that I would be happy with, and after some work, I came up with the following criteria that work for me.
Films that are beautifully constructed
Films that mean something to me
Films that are always re-watchable
Films that have added to my love of the craft of cinema
With this criterion in mind I went through all the likely candidates and with a bit of a struggle I think I have been able to come to a final list, well at least until I change my mind next week, which is always a chance.